HomePress Releases and PublicationsIGNORING PUBLIC’S REQUESTS - BOTH BASIS FOR PUNISHMENT AND CAUSE OF DOUBTS
Monday, 08 May 2017 11:28
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The Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection pronounced to the City Administration of Belgrade, the second fine of 180,000 dinars for failure to comply with the order of the Commissioner's ruling to provide a Group of Citizens of the Savski venac municipality with information on whether the investor of the building in Dedinje, 11 Koste Racina Street, filed a request for legalization of the building and whether the legalization procedure has been launched in any way, and if so whether it ended and how.

This group of citizens submitted in November last year, through a lawyer, a request for access to information to the City Administration, Secretariat for legalization of buildings, requesting this information. Among other things, the request alleged that the investor has drastically exceeded the floor area, number of floors and other parameters specified under the approved location requirements, as can be seen in documents of the Construction Inspection of the Savski venac Municipality; that this building was scheduled for demolition, which can be seen in Demolition Plan for the second quarter of 2016, which was published on the website of the Savski venac municipality, but that this investor in the meantime publicly announced the sale of apartments, stating that they are registered, and that there is a suspicion that legalization of this building occurred in a legally questionable way and illegally constructed apartments are being sold.

The City Administration failed to respond in any way to the request, and even after the citizens filed a complaint with the Commissioner, it failed to give any statement regarding the complaint. The Commissioner found that the right of applicant, that is the public, is undisputed and issued a ruling ordering the provision of the requested information. Although the ruling is legally binding for the City Administration, it failed to comply with the order, and therefore the Commissioner imposed penalties set forth by the law, as requested by the citizens. If the Administration fails to perform its obligation, the Commissioner shall, in accordance with the law, demand from the Government to provide forced execution of the ruling.

The Commissioner warns, not only regarding the specific case, but in general that the number of cases in which the “silence”, namely ignoring requests from citizens, journalists and others, is abnormally high, since it is illegal, punishable by law, attitude. Yet, over 70% of the cases of thousands of complaints filed with the Commissioner, this is the reason for complaint. The fact that in most cases after the Commissioner’s intervention, even without a formal order, but after request for explanation, the previously withheld information are provided, is not for comfort. It says that it is actually calculated with public’s rights, that information will be obtained by only one who complains to the Commissioner. In addition, a very large number of complaints, which were obviously easy to avoid, represents additional burden for otherwise overloaded the Commissioner, and leads to unnecessary waste of time, money and nerves of citizens. Therefore, it is not good, on the contrary, that the competent Ministry of Public Administration never reacts to such conduct, nor launches infringement proceedings against those responsible.

Cases, in which “silence” persists even after Commissioner's ruling, even after penalties are imposed, deserve special attention. Such behaviour, except being additionally punishable by law, inevitably reinforces the already existing doubts about illegal actions of the authorities and the government in general, in their readiness to conceal one's unlawful conduct which would necessarily have to attract appropriate attention and treatment not only by the ministry responsible for public administration, but also other competent state authorities.

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Statistics

  • Monthly Statistical Report in the field of Access to Information and Personal Data Protection

    30.9.2017.

    PENDING: 4.333

    DONE: 55.280

    Read more...

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Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection

15, Bulevar kralja Aleksandra str, Belgrade 11000
Tel: +381 11 3408 900    Fax: +381 11 3343 379
Email: оffice@poverenik.rs